'Walking Dead' Casts Pivotal Comic Book Character for Season 10

Paola Lázaro joins the cast as Princess, signaling an important shift for the AMC zombie drama's future.
Gene Page/AMC
'The Walking Dead'

The Walking Dead has featured governors and kings in its ranks — and now it's time for Princess, a late fan-favorite player from the Walking Dead comic books, heading to the AMC drama for its tenth season. Paola Lázaro will inhabit the role.

The news was announced Saturday at the show's New York Comic Con panel, with various cast and crewmembers in attendance: showrunner and executive producer Angela Kang; chief content officer and executive producer Scott M. Gimple; comic book creator and executive producer Robert Kirkman; executive producer David Alpert; and actors Norman Reedus, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Danai Gurira, Cailey Fleming, Josh McDermitt, Seth Gilliam and Ross Marquand.

Kirkman's comics introduced the world to Juanita Sanchez, aka "Princess," during one of the final runs of the series. (Spoilers from the comics are ahead.)

In the comics, Princess meets the greater group during a field trip far away from Alexandria. Michonne (Gurira) leads a party of survivors on an expedition to a new community, as discovered by Eugene (McDermitt) during the radio communications teased out in the season nine finale. Princess is an isolated survivor who lives in Pittsburgh; she decides to tag along with the crew on their continued adventure toward the Commonwealth, the setting for the final arc of the Walking Dead comic books from Kirkman and artist Charlie Adlard.

Princess' eventual arrival always felt inevitable, but the fact that it's coming in season 10 is highly suggestive of where Kang plans to take the series. So much is focused on the Whisperer War right now, but Princess' debut doesn't come until a significant spell afterward — the very next arc, sure, but one that could have been envisioned for an eleventh season of The Walking Dead. Princess' arrival in season 10 means the road to the Commonwealth will begin in earnest as early as season 10, which means the AMC zombie drama is on track to run out of material from Kirkman's comic to adapt — which places the show closer than ever to a natural stopping point. Let the speculation continue.

Hailing from Puerto Rico, Lázaro's credits include Fox's Lethal Weapon and Showtime's SMILF. She is a playwright with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dramatic Writing from SUNY Purchase College and a Master of Fine Arts in Playwriting from Columbia University.

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